Rockville Centre has filed a joint application with the New York State Public Service Commission to increase its electric rates by 11 percent, which officials said would mean residents would pay $129 more a year for RVC Electric. The increase could be implemented as soon as Aug. 1.
The last time the village filed for an increase was in 2004.
The village initially filed for a 16.8 percent increase "designed to recover $3.5 million in additional annual revenues," according to a release from the PSC. Negotiations with the PSC took place in March and April, and the two entities reached an agreement on April 18. The 11 percent increase proposal is for a 12-month term and aims to raise village revenue by $2.3 million.
According to the PCS, "it proposes changes to rate components within each service class, the most significant of which is the elimination of existing declining block energy rates for residential customers during winter months and for large commercial customers in all months."
Comptroller Mike Schussheim said the proposed increase is due to a significant uptick in operating costs, as well as higher costs for retirement and medical contributions by the village.
When asked why the village is seeking a double-digit increase now instead of annually raising rates by a smaller margin, Schussheim said it's expensive to implement a rate case because the village has to incur lawyer and consultant fees when preparing an application.
"It's better to implement a rate increase when it's absolutely necessary," he said. "And we feel the rate payers agree with that philosophy."
Interested in Rockville Centre news, events, community bulletins, blogs and businesses? Sign up for the free Rockville Centre Patch daily newsletter.
The PSC held a meeting at Village Hall Tuesday night for residents to voice their opinions on the proposed increase, but few attended.
Former Trustee John Matthews supported the increase, explaining that when a thunderstorm knocked out his power last year, it was repaired within 40 minutes. "I like that it's local," he said. "When you call, they respond."
Resident Anthony Fornabio said he didn't mind paying the increase, but said the service is the biggest problem. He explained that during the same storm that Matthews referenced, his block was powerless for days. "We are among the last in the village to get our power turned back on," he said. "Step up to the plate and do the right thing for the residents."
The board does not vote on the increase. The PSC will make the final determination, and officials believe it could be implemented as soon as Aug. 1
If you'd like to comment on the case, you can:
- Send them electronically to Hon. Jaclyn A. Brilling, Secretary, at email@example.com, or mailed or delivered to Secretary Brilling at the Public Service Commission, Three Empire State Plaza, Albany, New York 12223-1350. Your comments should refer to "Case 11-E-0590 – Rockville Centre electric rates.”
- Commission's Opinion Line at 1-800-335-2120. This number is designed to take comments about pending cases from in-state callers, 24 hours a day. Callers should press "1" to leave comments.